Even though bankruptcy protection offers a path to financial freedom for many Americans, some type of social stigma often accompanies bankruptcy filings. If either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is right for you, you should try not to worry about the opinions of your social group. After all, many financially responsible people rely on bankruptcy protections every year.

Even if you stick to a budget and live within your means, you may eventually find yourself in an unenviable financial situation. Here are some ways your circumstances may require you to explore your bankruptcy options.

Unexpected life events

While it is generally a good idea to have a rainy day fund, you may not be able to plan for all of life’s unexpected events. If a car accident, new baby or anything else requires you to reach for your credit card, you are far from alone. In fact, the average American household has more than $6,000 in credit card debt.

Medical emergencies

There is no shame in suffering a serious injury or developing a chronic medical condition. Still, receiving treatment, paying for medications and making necessary home modifications can be expensive even with health insurance. If a medical emergency puts you into debt, seeking bankruptcy protection may allow you to focus on your recovery.

Loss of income

If you and your spouse have high-paying jobs, carrying some debt may not bother either of you. Losing a job or another income source, though, may change your financial situation considerably. If you can no longer afford to pay your monthly bills, a bankruptcy filing may stop collection activities and end your sleepless nights.

Whether bankruptcy is right for you likely depends on your financial situation and other factors. By recognizing that even responsible individuals regularly file for bankruptcy, you can ignore social pressure and make a savvy financial decision for you and your family.